You didn’t cause it.
You can’t change it.
You can only take care of yourself.


Kids in Control and Teens in Control are free education and support programs offered and created by BC Schizophrenia Society. They target children and youth (8-18 years) who have a family member with a mental illness (e.g., bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression).

The programs are prevention-focused and aim to foster resilience. They provide children and youth with opportunities to practice healthy coping strategies, provide knowledge about mental illness and connect with peers who have similar experiences. A key goal of the group is to let the children and youth know that they are not the only ones experiencing these challenges.

Another primary goal is to increase knowledge and understanding of mental illness. When there is a clearer understanding of mental illness, children and youth are able to express more compassion for their parent or sibling. It also gives them the necessary language to talk about mental illness, which creates opportunities for them to articulate their needs, access resources and process their experiences. This all helps provide a greater sense of security for children and youth.

Facilitators use a variety of activities and games to educate and support each participant. Most importantly, children and youth decide which activities to take part in. This sends the message that they are able to be in control of some things, even if other aspects of their lives are not within their control.

Some benefits for children and youth include:

  • Opportunities to connect with others who share their unique situation and have support
  • The ability to have a better understanding of mental illness to comprehend what they are dealing with
  • Dispelling misinformation and providing ways to deal with stigma around mental illness
  • Reducing anxiety and relieving fears about the unknown
  • Providing ways to deal with their own isolation, anxiety, fears, and stress
  • Opportunities to develop and practice healthy coping strategies to deal with mental illness and the impact it has on their lives
  • Encouragement to know that their own needs and desires matter and are important
  • Learning that they are resilient and ways to recognize their means for future success

The programs consist of eight sessions which run once or twice a week. Each session is approximately 2 hours. Sessions take place in a relaxed social setting. Groups are delivered by mental health workers with experience working with children and youth. Snacks are provided!

The programs accept participant referrals on a continuous basis throughout the year from a variety of sources, including health care professions, community agencies, and family members and caregivers. Youth (14+) are able to self-refer.

Kids in Control Sessions:

  • Group Building and Storytelling
  • Learning to Identify Feelings
  • Learning About Healthy Boundaries and How to Communicate Feelings
  • Learning About Mental Illness
  • Learning About the Treatment of Mental Illness
  • Developing Resiliency
  • Societal Attitudes and Stigma
  • Self-Care and Self Esteem


Teens in Control Sessions:

  • Group Building
  • Social and Societal Attitudes About Mental Illness
  • Learning How to Identify Feelings and Defenses
  • Mental Illness Facts + The Three C’s
  • Coping and Self-Care
  • Attitude and Self-Esteem: Negative Self-Talk and the Power of Positive Thinking
  •  Communication: Skill Development, Boundary-Setting, and the Meaning of Words
  • Planning and Visioning


Here are a few blog posts with more details about what happens in a Kids in Control program:

For more information about these programs, including when and where they are currently being offered and how to access them, or if you would like to make a referral, please contact:

Rachel Phillips
Manager, Kids/Teens in Control


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